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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  September 12, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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senator. as secretary of the interior, he works to protect america's natural resources and heritage. the honors our cultures and tribal communities and supplies the energy to powder -- to power our future. he is a good friend to fly 93 and has visited this site many times. please welcome secretary of the interior, ken salazar. [applause] >> thank you, joanne. it is my honor to welcome you all to the here -- all here to the ninth anniversary for the heroes of flight 93. i would welcome the first lady of the united states, michelle obama, and our first lady laura bush. my former colleague and former secretary of the interior also for his work on this project.
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when president obama pointed me, he asked as -- appointed me, he asked that i served as a custodian for this chapter of american history. this is my fourth visit to the memorial site since becoming secretary of the interior. i have had the honor of working with the family and friends of the heroes of flight 93. i also have had the honor of working with the landowners and the community of shanksville, whose lives, like the rest of the nation, were irrevocably changed on that day nine years ago. the location for this year's service is especially significant as we return to the western overlook where the journey began nine years ago. this is where the pennsylvania state police line to the ridge on horseback -- lined the ridge
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on horseback as the families were first brought to view the wreckage. this is where the other agencies carried out their duties. many of those who served in the investigation and recovery efforts are with us in the audience today. for the first responders, around -- a round of applause. [applause] this is also the place where the media gave the nation and the world their first glimpse of the crash site. this is the place where a community in nation came together, the red cross and salvation army and good samaritans demonstrated great compassion and care here. local residents of this community and county opened their home andeart to the families and to the nation.
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a small memorial of pay bills was placed at the overlook where families could leave -- of hay bales was placed at the overlook where families could leave flowers and other items. still adding we're to that simple memorial. the nation in the world have joined the salute. you will hear from distinguished speakers today. i want to impart with you the confidence that the department of the interior, in our capacity as to words of national parks and historic sites for our great nation, is committed to building this memorl. because of the work here, we're on our way, with the friends and families of flight 93 and so ny others, to be able to dedicate, on the 10tyear anniversary.
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it is my hope that when our children and grandchildren visit this memorial, and when our thoughts come to this solemn place, that they will understand the sold -- selfless acts of the heroes of 9/11. i hope they will walk a hollow ground and feel the power and resilience -- the hallowed ground and feel the power and the resilience of the american spirit. they will know that our nation, like the 40 men and women on flight 93, responded to those acts of terrorism with her rich -- with courage. actions intended to divide the nation instead rekindled unity, strength, and resolved. -- and resolve. thank you for the opportunity to speak and to help build this
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memorial on behalf of a grateful nation. [applause] >> thank you, mr. secretary. reverend robert way from the good shepherd cooperatively lutheran ministries will lead us in the indication and ask for blessings -- invocation and ask for a blessing. >> i asked you to gather your heart and your mind as we gather together in prayer. you who alone are holy, you who are the on, true god -- one, true god, with love,
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compassion, and healing look upon us, people of different faiths and traditions, who gathered here this morning in mortem. we ask you in your goodness to be with us as we come together. we are a broken people. we tend to separate ourselves daily by race, class, creed, and politics, but we gatr now with a unified purpe and goal. we are one people in this attempt to honor those who died in acts of heroism, first responders, firefighters, emergency workers, police officers, and especially those who fought hand-to-hand against the terrorists in the skies above this precious tract of land. we ask you, in your compassion, to bring healing to those who still deeply grieved loss of their loved ones. give them strength to continue their lives with strength and hope. remember our 40 heroes and also
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those who suffer death, injury, and loss on that day. we give tribute to those who fight on behalf of our country in foreign lands as we reflect on the loss bay and their families incur. -- the loss they and their families incur. bring peace to our violent world. rerm those whose hearts and minds are consumed with revenge. inform those who seek to cause discord in strife. grant that we may all live in such a way as to honor the sacrifices made on our behalf and on behalf of those people we have yet to meet. bless our endeavor as we continue to make progress toward a proper and lasting memorial that reflects their sacrifice was not in vain. as this land once again gives way to machinery, made the srs left upon it by the mining industry -- may the s
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cars left upon it by the mining industry, by flight 93, and by the development of the memorial give way to the healing of the land and of our hearts. give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where peace becomes the norm, where low for one another is not merely a prayer by the religious, -- where love for one another is not merely a prayer by the religious. we come beforeou hundley, knowing that you know the intent -- you humbly, knowing that you know the intent of our hearts. bless us and our nation. less the activities of this day, that are strivings would be in -- bless the activities of this day, that our strivings would be in line with your will. amen.
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>> please stand, if you are able, for the presentation and posting of the colors by the summer said volunteer fire department, one of the first responders -- somerset volunteer fire departmen one of the first responders to the scene on some timber 11, 2001, and for the -- on september 11, 200 and for the national anthem. see oh, say, c you by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous night o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming
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glaree rockets' red the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our fag was still there oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave land of the free and the home of the brave ♪
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color guard, post the colors. >> please be seated perio. rev. paul britain, brother of a passenger, will lead us in a moment of silence in memory and honor of the heroes from flight 93.
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>> we were reminded that god willlicit from each of us the best and that god will also enable each of us to bear the worked that can befall us. what rabbi kaplan does not remind of -- does not remind us of is that the best that is in us generally comes out when the worst that can happen to us occurs. before that moment, most of us could not believe courage, e
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hope, the acts that we can live out until the worst befalls u in those moments when we cannot believe what god can do it through us, we can close our eyes and remember the 40 baface. we can close our eyes and remember this field. we can pause and remember their deeds, for in many ways they did not know the best of themselves them ande worst the febefell
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god moved through them. let us pause in silence and the prayers of our hearts. amen. >> the names of the passenger and crew will be read by their loved ones, family members of flight 93. the bells of remembranceill be wrong by students of the
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shksville high school who were in class that day in 2001. >> christian adams. [bell rings] lorraine g. bay. [bell rings]
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todd m. beemer [bell rings] alan anthony bevin [bell rings] mark gerald bingham [bell rings] theora francis godley [bell rings] sandy bradshaw [bell rings]
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marianne r. briton [bell rings] thomas e. burnett, jr. [bell rings] william josh cashman [bell rings] georgine rose corgan [bell rings] patricia cushing
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[bell rings] jason m. dolph [bell rings] joseph [unintelligible] [bell rings] patrick joseph driscoll [bell rings] my husband, edward [unintelligible] [bell rings] james c. [unintelligible] [bell rings]
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colleen laura frazier, my hero. [bell rings] andrew garcia [bell rgs] jeremy logan glick [bell rings] christian white-gould [bell rings] laura francolis, an unborn child
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[bell rings] wanda anita green rings] donald friedman green [bell rings] linda runlon [bell rings] richard j. [unintelligible] [bell rings] leroy palmer [bell rings] [unintelligible]
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[bell rings] c.c. ross [bell rgs] waliska martinez [bell rings] nicole carol miller [bell rings] lewis joseph nagy, ii
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[bell rings] donald arthur peterson [bell rings] gene hodley peterson [bell rings] mark david rothenberg [bell rings] christine ann snyder [bell rings]
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john [bell rings] elizabeth winea [bell rings] debra jacob welch [bell rings]
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>> we will now hear from our speakers. thank you to the families for ringing the bells and reading the names. gov. rendell, thank you for coming today and thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts and your reflections. it is an honor to have you here. it is also a comfort. you and your entire team in harrisburg have been and continue to be one of our biggest supporters and advocates. i note that you keep your printer on the pulse of all we are doing. you visit us whenever you can't and you are already -- and you're always ready to jump in. we could not do this without you. we are honored to have you with us today. pleaseelcome our governor, our
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partner, and our friend, governor rendell. [applause] >> good morning. when we first visited the site might first year as governor, i did not know the profound effect it would have on us. i did not know just how important it was that what we do here be done right. provide not only a lasting memorial to a great human beings, but to tell a story that is important to all americans and all future generations to understand, to hear, and to ow. towards that end,he commonwealth of pennsylvania has been pleased to be able to contribute $19 million towards these efforts. i was able to convince the pennsylvania legislature to
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appropriate this money unanimously. for those of you were not pennsylvanian, you have to understand what an incredible feat that is. [laughter] the pennsylvania legislature could not agree unanimously that today was saturday. [laughter] when flight 93 crossed into pennsylvania, the fight to defend and protect our country was already underay. it was a fight that we won. we won at great cost -- the cost of 40 wonderful lives. none of the passengers and crew of flight 93 were pennsylvanian, but the moment that the plane hit the ground, their names became indelibly etched in the
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history of the commonwealth of pennsylvania. they joined many great men and women to joined to protect and defend it the freedom and liberty of this great country. along with benjamin franklin who committed treason and risked his life to give birth to this new nation. along with general george marshall of uniontown who helped lead t allied war effort in world war ii and, as secretary of state, helped rebuild our allies throughout the world. general george mcclellan and george meade to, at gettysburg, led the republic in a battle to keep this nation as one. daniel boone of redding, the
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great frontiers men and mary hayes of carlisle who became known as the legendary molly pitcher to in 1778, took water to the soldiers and the artillery men in the field fighting. she took water to a hell of cannon and bullets. when her husband was wounded letting a cannon, she took our husbands place and in 100 degree heat for over five hours stood there and was where did herself as she helped to load and fired a cannon. they were all pennsylvania heroes. so were the 40 men and women we honor today. on behalf of 12.5 million pennsylvanian, we say that we will never forget what they did
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it over our skies. we will always remember them. [applause] >> thank you, governor. we are honored to have with us the president of the families of flight 93 whose brother, passenger edward f. phelps, a chance with his wife donna. mr. phelps never thinks about his loss alone, but always thinks about the loss of the others. he is an amazing spokesperson for this project. he is compassionate and hont. he is a wonderful partner in all situations. we are lucky and blast and
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honored to have you with us. please welcome mr. gordon phelps. [applause] >> i am deeply honored to have the privilege of representing the families of flight 93 again this year. as we take the time to remember 40 extraordinary individuals, first lady michelle obama, laura bush, secretary salazar, the governor rendell, and all of those who have come to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on this field of honor. i am humbled by your presence. thank you for joining us to remember. we have experienced great loss, struggled with strong emotions, formed a new alliances.
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with each step, we have developed a clarity of purpose that sustains us. weee on the very ground before and around us the initial statement -- the initial stages -- a tribute to 48 individuals who reported the attack on our country. they prevented the loss of lives on the ground in washington, d.c., and helped to preserve our capital, one the most revered symbols of democracy. their actions have fittingly been woven into the fabric of our history. each individual crewmember and passenger will not be forgotten by a grateful nation. on this night anniversary of september 11, we return to the site where our families and burst came to face our smallest -- or face our loss.
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i am truly moved to once again stand with them when members, first responders, so many in the somerset community, and members of the media who were here in this early, difficult days. we have come full circle and can once again looked out across this western overlooked review the help of ground on which the actions of the 40 heroes of flight 93 lost their lives, but won an important victory that our nation will not send forget. my recollection of the first visit to this site was printed on my memory. the buses travelled across the roads of rural, southwest pennsylvania. we were selected by police officers, providers, first responders, as well as met by
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citizens holding american flags, children holding the hands of their families, all in tribute to the actions of our loved ones. that is when i realized that my brother edward and the 39 other heroes on flight 93 had not oy forged a bond between themselves and rebuild their clarity of purpose beyond our comprehension, but also forged a bond between those of us left behind. the families of flight 93, the people of somerset county and the surrounding area, the citizens of the great commonwealth of pennsylvania or partners with the national park service, the friends of flight 93, the national park foundation, the flight 93 memorial ambassadors or representatives in washington as well as in harrisburg, and supporters around america and across the world have allowed us
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to stand here today and witness the birth of a national memorial. 1.4 million visitors, 65,000 different contributors, nearly 100 volunteers, and several hundred participants in a unprecedented partnership have, to their presence or participation, made an invaluable contribution to the development of this memorial. yet, we look forward tohe 10th anniversary of september 11 for the official dedication of the flight 93 national memorial, our work is not done. not only do we need to ensure the time completion of the memorial, we need to continue to actively remember september 11, not i anger, but with vigilance. not in despair, but with hope. not with diminished reverence, but with the inspiration.
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when the message that i hope resonates with all who visit the memorial or hear the story of our loved ones, the message is that under horrific conditions, at a moment's notice, courage is revealed, heroes are born, and total strangers can form a bond that overcomes adversity and inspires generations to come. our loved ones, their actions spoke for themselves. now it is our turn to speak for our loved ones. thank you. [applause] >> the flight 93 national memorial lost a true champion this year with the passing of congressman john murtha. mrs. márquez has joined us today. we are honored by her presence
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and recognize the support that she provided to the congressman, enabling him to be the most ardent champion of this project in washington. he spearheaded the creation of the memorial in the house of representatives and was responsible for ensuring that the early seed money for the project was provid. the families of flight 93 could always count on the congressman to assist us in our efforts. john murtha's leadership and commitment to the memorial will be sorely missed. i ask you all for a moment of reverent silence in remembrance of congressman murtha. thank you.
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>> thank you, gordon. i am now have the honor and pleasure and the privilege of introducing you to mrs. laura bush. this is not her first time here to the site. in the days immediately following 9/11, mrs. bush was here. she came to pay her respects and to grieve with those that lost their loved ones. during a time of unspeakable tragedy, mrs. dish bught calm -- mrs. bush brought call and comfort to those she visited with and those who watched around the nation. each time mrs. bush has come to this place, her compassion has been felt by all who had been with her. she is a lifelo love for of
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our national parks, and her presence here at one of our nation's newest national parks help convey the importance of this place. please join me in a warmly welcoming mrs. laura bush. [applause] >> thank you, you all. thank you very much. thank you, you all. thank you, joanne. thank you for your good work here for the national parks system and, especially, for this flight 93 memorial. i am honored to mark this day with the families of flight 93. i am happy to be here with the first lady to serve our country .ith such ace period \ /
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thank you governor when dell for your gd work. thank you for representing the families. when i was first year on september 17, 2001, this quiet field was guard might smoldering -- scarred by a smoldering crater. our party was heavy. we were just learning the names of those aboard flight 93 in the story of their sacrifice. this peaceful place was not chosen by the terrorists. they had other targets for their violence and hate. this spot was chosen by the passengers of flight 93 to spare our country from even greater harm. we gather to remember those who were lost and honor their courage, we are deeply grateful.
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the events of 9/11 grow distant in time, but they remained did did in the memory of our nation and in the hearts of those who suffered such a great loss. over the years, we blurred the stories of the last minutes of flight 93. passengers at placed calls to authorities to warn them of the hijacking. we know they called family members to assure them of their love and to tell them of their plans. one passenger called his wife and said, "i know we are all going to die. there are three of us who are going to do something about it. i love you, honey." we know in the midst of their fear, they were called by their faith. a crew member called her husband and told him they were going to rush the hijackers. over the ball he heard other passengers
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whispering the 23rd psalm, "yea, though i walk to the valley of the shadow of death i shall fear no evil for thou art with me." nine years ago in the skies above this field and in washington and i in new york city, we saw all the worst of our enemies and the best of our nation. we were suddenly reminded of many forgotten lessons. we saw that there is people in the world, but also good at the heart of our country. america was attacked, but the deepest belief of our democracy was vindicated. that our greatness and straight is found in the character of our citizens. americans responded with heroism, selflessness, with compassion and courage, and with
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prayer and hope. in our grief, we learned that our faith is an active faith. that we are called to serve and care for one another and to bring hope and comfort where there is despair and sorrow. we remember 9/11 not only as a day of great loss, but as a day of recommitment to certain enduring values. with the innocent are attacked, americans defend them. when the innocent suffer, americans rallied to their aid. in the face of terror, americans chose to overcome evil with good. it was following the tragic events of that september morning that we saw the goodness of the lord in the land of the living. we saw it here in shanksville -- as shanksville purse responders rushed to this field and in the
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endurance of those who worked exhaustingly to reach those trapped in the towers and the pentagon americans participated in blood drives, candlelight vigils, and memorialervices saying prayers in english, hebrew, and arabic. we found unity in the shared grief. when this field was marked by smoldering ashes, now there is green grass. but the passage of time cannot erase the images etched in our minds from that column september morning. we rememberhe moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing. george and i grieved with the families whose loved ones perished on that bright blue morning. we thought about your loss every day that we lived in the white house and your stories remain
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close to our hearts. george sends his love. today we join with all americans as we pause to remember those most affected by that date. we remember the families and friends of the lost and we still steal the wounds of september 11. we know the memories of your loved ones have not aged by time. you inspire us with your grace and strength. we remember the law enforcement and intelligence personnel to stand watch on our behalf at every hour. we remember the men and women of our military to oppose radicalism and terrorism at this very at work in afghanistan, iraq, and other places around the world. on this day, americans have a new division. together we recall the events
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that changed each one of us and that united our nation. together we honor the lost in silence and we remember that our quiet and peace is always defended by the courage of the brave. thank you, you all. god bless you and god bless america. [applause] ♪
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[piano playing amazing grace] when you walk through the storm hold your head up high afraid of the dark at the end of the storm is a golden sky and the peaceful song of the lord
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♪18 walk on through the wind walk on through the rain walk on, walk on open your heart aloneu'll never walk alone never walk alone walk on through the wind walk on through the rain
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walk on, walk on open your heart aloneu'll never walk you'll never walk alone you'll neverwalk, walk you'll never walk alone ♪ walk on
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walk on [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you so much for those wonderful words, mrs. bush. yet proven again to be a source of sength and comfort to the families in this community. now it is my extreme honor and privilege to introduce to you mrs. michele obama, the first lady of the united states of america who has also demonstrated her dedication continuously to american stock heroes -- to america's heroes. she glanced at her passionate
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voice to the men and women whose services and sacrifice keep us safe. her tireless advocacy on their behalf reminds us of the values that unite us all, even at our most difficult moments, love of country, respect for our nation's heroes, and the obligation that each of us has to give something back to our community. first, let me welcome mrs. obama to the families of flight 93. [applause] >> thank you, everyone. thank you so much. thank you, joanne, for that very
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kind introduction. it is a privilege and an honor to be here today as we pay tribute to the men and women of flight 93. i want to acknowledge secretary salazar, the governor rendell, and i want to thank them all for their leadership and for their service. i also want to thank rerend britain and weighed four leading us in praye -- reverend briton and wade for leading us in prayer. i also want to thank mrs. bush all her work to help our nation pill in the days and months after the attack. thank you. [applause]
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i come here today not just as first lady on behalf of my husband and a grateful nation, i come as an american filled with a sense of all that the heroism of my fellow citizens. i come as a wife, a daughter, a sister heartbroken at the loss said many of you have endured. i come as a mother, thinking about what my daughter's and what all of r sons and daughters can learn from the 40 n and women whose mories we honor today. the men and women of flight 93 were college students, grandparents, businessmen, pilots, flight attendants -- the was a writer, an antique
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dealer, lawyer, an eineer. they came from all different backgrounds and all walks of life. they all took a different path on that september morning. in that awful moment when the facts became clear and they were called to make an impossible choice, they all found the same result. they agreed to the same bold plan. they called the people they loved, many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it, explaining that they were taking action and that everything would be okay. then they rose as one. they acted as one. together they changed histo's course. in the days that followed when we learned about the heroes of
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flight 93 and what they had done, we were proud, we were awed, we were inspired, but i do not think any of us were surprised because it was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to service and to sacrifice. for them putting others before themselves was nothing new. they were veterans, coaches, and volunteers of all sorts of causes. there was the disability rights advocate that carried a miniature copy of the constitution everywhere she went. there was the census director who used to return to the home she canvassed to drop off clothing and food to the families in need. there was the couple who quietly used their wealth to make interest free loans to
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struggling families. to this day, they remind us not just of how they gave their lives, but how they lived their lives. being a hero is not just a matter of fate, it is a matter of choice. i think someone put it best -- his wife was a passenger on the flight -- he said, "they were ordinary citizens stone into a combat suation. nobody was a general or a dictor. their first thought was to be selfless. they knew there was a 98% chance they were not going to make it. they saved others." the men and women on that plane and never met those whose liv they saved, yet they willingly made the sacrifice.
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before 9/11, the people of this community did not know any of the families cure today. -- of the families here today, yet they embrace them as their own, inviting them into their homes, guarding the sacred spot day after day, lovgly cataloguing every item, momento, photograph, every letter left as a temporary memorial. over the past nine years, more than 1 million people have come here to pay their respects, to express their gratitude, to try in their own small way to ease the burden of these families grieve by honoring the people they love. all of this reminds us that while this memorial begins here in shanksville, it does not end at the edges of this field.
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it extends to all of the state saved whose lives today or possible because they gave theirs. it extends to all of those they inspired to thought to themselves, "it they can do somethinghat extraordinary th their lives, then maybe, just maybe it is time i made it something more of mind." maybe it is time i wore my country's uniform. maybe it is time i gave more to my community. maybe it's time for me to be a better friend, a better neighbor, a better american. most of all, this memorial extends to all their families whose lives were shaped by their love. i am taking especially today of the children, toddlers who have
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grown into young men and women, teenagers who he become adults who will one day bring their own children to this place and tell them about the proud legacy they inherit. sonali bevins was just five- years old when she lost her father. in the midst of the shock and the heartbreak of hearing the news, she said her mother, "i am said a sad, but i am cannot be said this girl in the whole world because children lost their mommy and daddy. " muriel was just 10 when she lost her sister. in a speech on the one-year anniversary she called for a worldwide moment of peace. she asked people, and this is
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her ", "to make a pledge, to do a good deed that will help mankind in some small way, even if it is a hug, a kiss, a smile, a wave, a prayer, where just silent thought of once they love." i know that all of the young people herhave done their very best to be strong for their families and to hold the memories of their loved ones close. and to live their lives in a way that would make them proud. i know it has not been easy. while grief has its own course for each of us and no one can presume to know what your families have felt, i can't imagine that there are days when the pain is still raw, when the
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time and distance of those nine years at all way and that loss is still fresh. but i can also imagine that as time has passed, there have been more good days, more moments when you are able to find joy and comfort and happy memories. i can't imagine that on those better days, maybe sometimes you worry that in moving on, you may in some ways be leaving your loved ones behind. i cannot help but think this it is just the opposite. that in having the couge to move forwardyou honored their courage. that in choosing to live your own life as fully as you can't, you are celebrating there's. that in coming together and pushing ahead to build this permanent memorial, you are
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ensuring that their memory will always be a part, not just of your own mind, but of the light of this nation. know that because you kept going, because he persevered, that long after you are going, people will come here -- continue to come here to shanksville, and they will stand at this plaza and listen to the echoes of those times and gazed ouat this field. they will see how a scholar in the earth has healed. how it has grown that as a peaceful resting place for 40 of our nation's heroes. they will understand that because of all of you, a sight of devastation and destruction was transformed into a place of reverence and remembrance.
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it is truly my prayer today that in the years ahead all who come here and all of you may be filled with the hope that is written in the book of psalms, "the you may have seen troubles of many and bitter, you will restore my life again from the depths of the earth, you will again bring me up. they the memory of those who gave their lives here continue to be a blessing for all of you in an inspiration for all americans. thank you all. god bless you and god bless america. [applause]
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>> thank you, mrs. obama. does or inspirational and beautiful words. i think they are words, not only for the families, but for all of us. thank you for reminding us of what is important. thank you. we are coming to the close of this year's commemoration. i would ask erybody if you are able to stand for the retiring of the colors. this will be followed by reverend robert wade giving
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our closing indication. -- closing invocation.
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>> please join me in prayer. almighty and gcious god, the words that we have heard today should once again ranked in our ears as they had in the past that we may be moved in service to one another. now, may our god, who is slow to judge, because of all knowledge, give us patience and understanding of those who differ from us and fill us with insight when we act without
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thinking. maybe god of mercy be merciful to us when we want a brother or sister. maybe god of truth and for us when we choose our own way without thinking of the needs of others. maybe god of peace kill us with peace that we may rest in charity all the days of our lives. amen. >> please be seated. before we leave today, i want to thank the many people who have helped to make this possible. most of all, to first lady michelle obama and mrs. laura bush. [applause] thank you you both for coming. thank you you both for caring
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and for leading our nation today in paying our respects. please everyone, take a moment to read in your programs all of the people, all the companies that have contributed their time, their talent, and their funds to help us today. on behalf of the national park service and the flight 93 partners, we are grateful for all of you w come here today, who come here and throughout the year, to come here every day, the thousands and thousands of visitors across the country. you support us and visit us on our website, you to paul was on face book, all of the sustain us. you help us to keep our passion and commitment to this memorial ignited and on fire. we are all so proud and humble
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to be part of this with you. we are blessed and privileged to be part of this great nation and to be part of the legacy ofhis nation to the national parks. i would ask everyone to please stay in your seats until the speakers and the first ladies have departed in their motorcade. just a few words of instruction -- following the departure of our speakers today and our special guest, all of our guests are encouraged to write a personal message on the back of your written that he received when you came in. thesee invited to tidiee ribbons to the fence behind you. they will be left up for a time and then placed in the archives. we want to thank, especially, the friends of the flight 93
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national memorial for giving us the support that we had needed of the last several days. at this time, also, as we are dismissed, family members are invited to be overlooked behind meat for a private moment. for the next 30 minutes or so, this front area will be for the families only. finally, have a safe journey home or wherever you are going. thank you again. god bless you. god bless america and keep the spirit alive. we'll see you all next year. [applause]
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>> thank you. we welcome back a very special person without him this event would not have been possible. though notlying on september 11th, 2001, as a pilot she quickly felt the frustration and torment felt by many of her fellow pilots and air traffic controllers thrown into the chaos of 9/11. she was inspired to write a definitive account of that day's events. our panelists are many of the
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people she interviewed for that book. it is with gratitude that we welcome back lynn spencer, who will moderate a panel on. -- will moderate of the panel. [applause] >> thank you to everybody for the opportunity to be here today. a special press is to the staff of the university of texas, dallas, -- a special thank you to the staff of the university of texas, dallas, who made this possible. september a 11th, nine years ago today, was our nation's second pearl harbor. and when the smoke cleared, the loss was actually greater. all of us can remember where we were, what we were doing, and
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how we felt as the news of the attacks was broadcast over all of the newnetworks. most of us had the opportunity to experience those attacks through our televisions, most in the privacy of our own homes, where we were able to take in and process, and grieve over what was occurring. the people that we will be talking with today did not have that luxury of learning about the events on their televisions. these were the individuals that were on the front lines that day. they were the men and women who could not watch it on tv, but had to respond. they had to act. they had no time to grieve. they had no time to plan.
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they had no time to prepare. we had not prepared for what happened that day. th were called upon to improvise. their actions and their decisions could either cost lives or save lives. for me, as an airline pilot, the was not flying that day, i had a burning desire to undstand what it was like for these people that were in the air traffic control facility, and the cockpit, and in the military battle pats and command centers. none of what i knew about aviation seemed to apply to what happened that day. so it was with this a burning desire to know these answers that i set out to talk to these people and to learn about their perspectives. it is wita sincere gratitude
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and appreciation of that these people are here today and that they are here to talk to us all about to their perspective. it is my belief that our nation's legacy of that todaday cannot be complete until we hear from these people and until we understand what happened in that the air. these attacks were born out of four commercial airliners being hijacked. this was an air attack on the united states. although the devastating effects were lived and relived on our televisions from the graic images coming out of the new york and the pentagon and pennsylvania, until we can understand how it happened, and why the response was wt it was, we cannot fully understand
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the events in context. our legacy cannot be complete until we hear from these people. so, i hope you will leave here today with a greater understanding a september 11th, 2001. it is my hope that you will leave here with a sense of pride for the bravery that was shown by these people, their ingenuity, their resourcefulness, their courage. also, perhaps most importantly, i hope you leave here today with the realization that had it not been for the acts of these people, 9/11 could have been a much greater tragedy than it was. we are going to start off today with the air traffic control perspecte of september 11th.
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before i introduce our panelists, i would like to share a few thoughts and kinof set the stage for these people. the job of an air traffic controller is a very unique job. as a general rule, air-traffic controllers like to control. they like to be in control. their jobs are high stress, a fast pace, highly structured, highly regimented. they do everything by the buck. they are very -- they do everything by the book they are very predictable in what they expect you to do and what they will do in response. hijackings were a thing of the past, pretty much, in 2001.
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septemr 11th was a beautiful day, a severe clear, in pilot speak. air-traffic controllers were expecting a pretty good day. there were no severeeather systems to deal with. hijackings were the last thing on their mind that today. on that day, none of the rules that they knew applied. the situation demanded that they improvise. without further delay, i would like to introduce to the panel members. first i would like to start with the air traffic controller at washington national air force facility, dan creden. next, the national commander at the faa command center on 9/11.
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and the air traffic controller at boston center and military liaison. >> i will start off with a question for all of you. answer in whatever order you want to. you do not necessarily need to go down the line. on september 11th, it took some time for the air traffic facilities and the military to figure out what was happening. i would like to hear from each of you, how did you figure out what was happening on that day? >> good morning.
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>> sorry. before we get into the first question -- sorry about this. before we get into the first question. why do you not all tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you were doing that day? where y were at, what was expected? let's set the stage. >> on 9/11, was the air traffic controller at the washington national air trans. i was responsible for their departure from the capital going eased down. it was a crazy day. -- going eastbound. it was a crazy day. >> i was the national operations manager on 9/11. that is a position located in the washington area that has overarching authority over the nation's airspace. that was my chart on that day,
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the safe and efficient operation of the nation's aerospace. >> on 9/11, i was assigned to the boston tunnel as an air- traffic controller. i also do military specialist duties as assigned as well. on that day, i normally do not work on the operational floor, and i was called down to the operational floor at about 8:30 a.m. that morning. >> so can we hear from you have yo made sense of what was happening and how you learned it was not going to be a nice clear day? >> for me, at washington national, at the radar facility for the nation's capital, we first heard about new york.
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people at, felt that tching television had a better picture of -- people at home watching television had a better picture of what was happening then we didt my facility. everything going through new york had stopped, we heard. then we heard that an aircraft had hit one of the towers. we were not quite sure what was going on there. then we heard that a second tower was hit. my heart just sank. i knew. it was going to be a bad day. for me personally, it was not until we spotted american 77 on its way to crash into the pentagon, 3.5 seconds out, that is when reality hit, accordi home for me.
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>> that was my first day on the job as national operations manager. [laughter] when i got up that morning and looked at the weather channel and saw that the entire east coast had a severe clear, i thought it would be a good first day. i anticipated and nothing but the best. in the command center, we do actually monitor cnn in the theory that most news of a disaster will be first broadcast by the media in the early morning. i had a cnn on right at my desk. we usually have the sound down, but we are monitoring it is generally.
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at the time, when we learned of the hijacking of american 11, was about to go to a meeting just before 8:30 a.m., and the supervisor designated to stand in my place in my absence called me to say that they were reporting a hijacking garrett i s surprised, because -- i was surprised, because i had not heard about the hijacking for years. i think the last one was in the 1990's. my experience was hijackings -- with hijackings, and our protocol for hijackings was that we cooperate. we do anything we can to facilitate the route of flight that the pilot wants. i did not think it was urgent.
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i went to the meeting. the supervisor came in with the intimation that a flight attendant had been stabbed. i returned to my duties on the floor. while we were focused on american 11, the military liaison came up to me and said, you may want to put cnn on upon the big screen. we have eight or 10 large screens that we used to depict information, and other meteorological or air traffic. cnn was reporting that a small plane had struck the world trade center. of course, as soon as we put the screens up, we knew from the size of the conflagration bet it was american 11, although we had no confirmation of that.
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we shut down traffic going into the new york area. as we were standing there discussing it, we saw united 175 come around and strike the south tower. that was a horrible scene, as you all will agree. i am sure most of you have seen it replayed from that day. there were 40 people working in that room. there was a collective gasp of hauberk and dead silence -- of horror and dead silence. most people knew at that time that it was definitely a american and 11 in in the north tower, and that this was not a usual hijack by some deranged individual wantingo go to cuba or released prisoners, or some other story, but that this was a
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concerted action by a group of people a that truly america was under attack. >> my day on the morning -- normally come in to work around 7:30 a.m.. it was a gorgeous day in new england. i came in after taking an hour off of the front of the d. i still cannot remember what i did with that power. i came in at 8:25 a.m. the last hijacking we had was in 1993. all i could remember from the last one it was that faa managers want to g involved with the hijack. i remember going downstairs at the time and seeing a way too many people around one scope and
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most people getting into the way. my intention was not to get in the way, to just wait for someone to call me. a supervisor asked me to come and sit at the military desk if i could. i do not normally sit at that position, but i write all of the procedures for it, so i understand the position probably better than anybody who works it, so i sat there. we had heard about american 11, about the vionce on the aircraft, and about the distance from new york. the plane was supposed to be at 35,000 feet and it was at9,000 feet. our concern was that they were headed toward a new york center and we did not know their altitude. we were trying to get fighters up to escort the aircraft.
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there was no mention at all in our rules about intercepted in the aircraft. they just get behind it and follow it, which is what they did in 1993. we were trying to get them on board as well, but the military command was in contact with that day, my original concern was to find out the altitude. did they have altitude finding capability on the same radar we use. we wanted to know their altitude. we knew it was a hijacker, but we did not know the altitude because they turned the transponder off. we watched his ground speed. we were tryinto give that to information to the military. they could n spot the aircraft. he ended up going down to new
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york air space. we transferred over to new york center. we attempted ttalk to new york about it and they told us they were too busy dealing with the hijack. we thought they were talking about american 11, so we would lead to be. it turned out they were talking about united 175, so there was a lack of communication. and then we heard that a plane hit the tower. we did not think it was american 11, he would not have done that. we thought it was a small aircraft, a single pilot. our assumption was that it was some other aircraft. we did not have cnn. we started talking and we started getting some locator transmissions coming from the tower, which happens when an aircraft hits. it was abot 12 minutes later
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that united 17 hit, and that is when we knew we were under attack. >> a couple of follow-ups on the comments you have made. dan, it seems like you were not even aware that there were airliner's hitting the towers until 177. >> a major theme is miscommunication. the command centers were trying to get a hold of the situation on a national perspective. we did not even know the full gravity of the situation in new york. we heard both towers had been head. we thought this was a terrorist situation. this was bad. it was not confirmed to us that
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it was a larger aircraft, let alone an air carrier. go for 06 was the call sign, he was making a turn just southeast of the pentagon, wn american 77 was acquired on our scope, and i forced the word lk upon the track just to get ground information on the guy. we saw him coming in fast, but not outrageous. i said, you'd better call traffic on that guy because these two guys are head to head. he sd, traffic, do you see anybody out there? the pilot said, yes, we are turning southeast pound.
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-- southeastbound. i really did not understand that was a hijacked aircraft until it hit the pentagon. somebody ran into the break room and looked at cnn. that is when we learned that there was an issue in new york with air carriers. we were trying to juggle big decisions there. there was some sketches and some miscommuication back-and-forth
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, and some slowness in realizing that we were dealing with an additional hijack, because by gosh, we already had two. >> you talked about the fact th you did not see a need to show right upon the scene because he thought they were dealing with a hijacking, adding experience, hijackings are not very interesting. >> typically, you sit back and follow them. it is a pretty boring event. with too many people standing around, they get in the way. there is only so much room around the radarscope. i never got the opportunity to go down t the area. i do no know really what people were watching. mye talked to some of controller friends who said that
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it was a lot different than anything they had ever worked before. there was screaming on as a frequency that was upsetting to the controllers. a good friend of mine that i went to the faa academy with still has problems with it today. i worked in that position pretty much the whole day, and of course, other events happened throughout the day, but that was the beginning of a long day, with the overwhelming amot of information that i received during the day. >> after the attacks expanded, there is a hijacking, then a strike at the north tower. at first, there is no connection that they are one and the same. then you mentioned seeing 175 hit the south tower. as the attacks expanded, a lot of air traffic control facilities made the decision to
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shut down operations. there were airports where the managers decided that they were going to shut down air traffic control towers. i know that your center was evacuated. how do these shutdowns affect all of your operations and how you are handling air-traffic? >> as far as the aerospace shutdown for the washington, d.c. area, i have to give credit to my supervisor. he made some great calls. we did n wait for a phone call from anyone. as soon as 77 hit the pentagon, it was obvious that no one should get near washington. an aircraft headed for washington national was turned away. guys outside of dulles airport, a turnaround.
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we could not trust any crew. we did not know what we were dealing with. there was a concern about united 93 heading in our general vicinity. there is a lot of information about that, but we knew heas coming. we knew he was 20 minutes away or something like that. my operations manager made the call, the senior manager on duty that day, get the tower cleared out. get these guys out of there. we are sure they will not hit the airports, they will probably try to hit something downtown. the pentagon was burning. we set up a temporary control tower on the airfield for the personnel out there, but the trade wer itself, we never
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stopped. of course, we were two stories below sea level with a bunch of concrete around. >> you try to get word to the tower to evacuate and they were not picking up the line. >> i wasn't talking to my friend -- i was talking to my friend, and i grabbed my operations manager, told him what wasoing on. we cannot get through to the control tower. i jumped on the elevator, which was a very uneasy feeling, got on the elevator with my friend and said, we have to get to the tower, have to tell them to get
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out. i went up ere and saw the black smoke. all use of flying through the air was paper. -- all you saw flying through the air was paper. it was crazy, crazy, crazy. >> that was from the pentagon. >> that was the pentagon. >> how did you respond to these shutdowns as they began to occur? >> the ability to provide air- traffic control services was nil. we issued orders that no aircraft could take off to go through new york or to new york. that was fairly easily accomplished.
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any facility that did evacuate, i was not cognizant of what occurred thereafter. i am aware of one tower that evacuating that was told to return. i do not remember which one it was. so there was no disruption in rvice from the command centers point of view. in conjunction with new york, at that time, there was an unspecified problem. they alluded to the fact that they were having problems similar to boston's, which we took to be another hijacking. that happened rather rapidly. the time between when he turned of the transponder to when he impacted was only about 11-12 minutes. all four were airborne before
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the first one is struck the north tower. the command center is in the business of regulating aircraft, and we put a stop obviously, to new york, to boston, and toashington center employ. we also stopped all los angeles baton to flights on the theory that there was some nexus -- los angeles-bound flights on the theory that there was some nexus, and we also stopped all flights coming from los angeles. following the crash into the south tower, we ordered a national stock, which meant a that no aircraft could leave the ground -- and national stop,
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which meant that no aircraft could leave the ground anywhere in the country. we also gave the order to evacuate any airport, regardless of the destination. -- we also gave the order to land at any airport, regardless of the destination. the pilots and flight attendants on those flights must be commended for their ability to keep people calm. a pilot is in charge of their own aircraft. we can tell them where to go,
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where to land, but when the airport -- but when the order came out to land and nearest airport regardless of the destination, i had expected some push back. a four hundred aircraft -- out of four hundred aircraft in the air, i only got one request to land at an airport that was not the nearest one. i refused the request, becau i was concerned that the captain may have been underdress, perhaps high debt. -- hijacked. i do not think the aviation industry got the things that they deserve from the american public -- the thanks that they deserve from the american
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public, not that the focus shld not have done the first responders to deserve all of the praise that they got and should get, but for allf the pilots to land planes other than where they should be, to shut down the borders and direct flights away from our country, that had never happened before. this was not only executed flawlessly by the american aviation community, but by the canadians, the mexicans, and the europeans. my hat is off to all of them for their flawless execution of a bad situation on that day. >> if i could build on that, it is tough to fathom 4556 aircraft -- never in t history
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of aerospace -- they're all going to land. to put 4500 aircraft on the ground in places where they were not supposed to go at the same time that the military is trying to get airborne and control the chaos is an incredible feat of air traffic controllers and air traffic managers coordinating that. >> just to give us some perspective, i believe 700 landed within the first 10 minutes and 3500 within the first hour. the rest within the second hour. it took about two hours to clear all of our skies. our ia at the command center was to separate the wheat from the chaff. anyone we could control and get on the ground was obviously not someone we had to worry about. the military fighters were
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already scrambling to get into the airspace. we wanted to let them do their job and take care of what ever else might need to be done. of course, united 93 -- what i remember most about that aircraft is that we were aware of the fact that he was about 20-30 minutes out from washington. we had a report from a small, private aircraft pilot who sought united 93 waggling his wings. that through a lot of ambiguity into this situation, because signal thatniversal cigna the pilot has lost radi a plane could lose an electronic system, their ability to communicate, even their ability
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to navigate. even at that junction, minutes before the aircraft hit the ground in pennsylvania, we were still wondering whether it was truly hijacked. we never received any confirmation of hijacking, which in my 40-50 years of aviation, i've always had a confirmation of the hijack, either from the pilot himself or from the hijacker. they would enable us to know. there is never been a situation where hijackers ever flew the plane. that created the biggest paradox for us on that day in trying to figure out what was going on. how could a hijacker forced the pilot, either by holding a gun or a knife to his head, force them to plan to the building -- force them to fly into the building. we have all heard about pilots
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executing heroic actions of flying a plane into an area where it would call the least damage. i cannot imagine how a pilot would be forced to fly into a building. it was inconceivable to me and inconceivable to my staff and i think to all air traffic controllers that that would happen. i learned to expand our thoughts about these things based on 9/11, and i am suree will not be caught again inhat situation. >> when i talk to you during my research, you mentioned the boston center at one point was considered a target. i remember some of the staff ere mentioned that it makes perfect sense, if you're going to take out airliners, to take up the air traffic control
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facilities so that they cannot even monitor and see what is happening in the air space. at some point thatorning, boston center was evacuated. could you share with us -- you di not leave the building when at order first came out. could you tell everyone about that? >> there were a lot of things going on at different times. we originally had an unidentified aircraft south of nantucket coming in at high speed at about 25,000 feet. our assumption was that it was a coast guard aircraft. that is where they come in from bermuda. we eventually did get a hold of the aircraft, but but for a while it was on the track the we are on. we identified the aircraft, got
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him and he landed. however, someone had taken the initial calls and determined that that possibly was another 77 on track to boston center. we found that out a couple weeks after 9/11. we got calls that hour facility was going to be attacked by an aircraft and we started to evacuate. i was upstairs in my office usually, because i is not always essential. that-i was essential, so i was on the floor. -- that day i was essential, so i was on the floor. someone determined that there was a bomb in the day care center located adjacent to the facility. we were under the premise is that we were going to get hit. at some point in time. it was imminent, is what we
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were told. every air traic controller was under orders to get every airplane down. they were told to leave as soon as they got their aircraft down. they did what they were told to do, and as each one dead, they left. my responsibility then was -- as they, was toonsibility thaen determine if there were additional hijacked aircraft. we have about 20 that we thought were potentially hijacked aircraft. i remember talkingo the montreal center, the toronto them thatd telling we were evacuating.
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if someone called us on the fun and told us they were turning off their air space, we would be -- on the telephone and told us they were turning off their air space, we would be shot. they took it in stride. -- we would be shocked. they took it in stride. i was concerned for the people at the pentagon. i have a lot of emotion running through mae. my wife had biness next door to us, and i thought if a 757 hit and was just a little bit off, it would hit where she works. there was a lot goi through me. i was trying to get all of my telephone calls in, and my last
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telephone cal was to the center that didn't unbelievable job that day landing aircraft in -- that did and an unbelievable job the day of landing aircraft and halifax. i thought i had been professional and done a good job. i did not find out until a few weeks later how well i did, because i did n get to hear my conversations right away like other people did. the last ca i made was the first time my voice cracked. wh i hung up, i knew i had to vacate the building. i was kind of matter myself, because i had heard tapes of crashes and things like that, and you cannot believe how professional pilots are in extreme cases.
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they are going down, and they will talk to you like nothing is happening. i wanted to be that way, beso i was kind of mad myself that on my last call my voice started to crack a little bit. our building was built in 1963. since then, it was occupied twenty-four's/7. -- 24/7. this was the first time it would be emp. i remember waiting to see a planeoming into the sky while i was sitting there. we evacuated, came back about 20 minutes later, got the all clear. i was about t third person back in the building. we had gotten all the planes on the ground, with the exception
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of a few military aircraft. we had a pilot on speaker saying, is anybody there, boston center? [laughter] i said, where are you at? they said where they were and that they were talking to the tower. i said that was good. they will clear you to land. there are a lot of terms we use with initials and stuff. we had an fstp office. i have no idea what that stands for, but they have a room in the building. it is the only room with no speaker, so they never evacuated. one guy came upstairs and look in the control room, where we
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usually have a hundred and 50 people at any given time, and he came up and said, there is nobody here. [laughter] they could not understand it. they went back inside, shut the door and stage. [laughter] so we thought we had evacuated the building. we had not. we actually left three people in the building. >> september 11th was your first day on the job at the national command center. when you discovered the new york had shut down its -- you said how new york had shut down its airspace. you stopped all flights to and from los angeles. you were trying to minimize what was happening. it stopped all aircraft from taking off.
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16 minutes, 17 minutes after you porter all aircraft to stop taking off is when -- after you orred all aircraft to stop taking off is when the command came to land everything. what was your mindset? how did you come to the point to thatthat historic call had never been done, and were you thinking that your first day on your job might be a last? [laughter] >> after 175 struck the south tower, i call the supervisor and told him to think about issuing a national ground a stop order. they said they would get back to me, but they did not. [laughter]
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that was about 9:10 a.m. at 9:25 a.m. i gave the order not to do any more takeoffs. there was not much to do what the point except to land everyone. -- to do at that point except to land everyone. i had considered giving the order elier. by the way, i have told my colleagues, but i am surrounded in a facility like this with about 40 type a personalities to are chewing off their arms to get sething done. there was a lot of urgency by the individuals, and these people we no different, to do something, to do something positive. we kept reacting to news that we got. finally, i was reacting to
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american 77, but it was kind of like the last straw. at that juncture, i figured we had had enough. it did run through my mind that if it was the wrong decision, because it would have been very costly to misplace all of the parts of an airline to get that system functioning again, it would have been billions of dollars, but my only thought at that time was that i might go back to my law practice. [laughter] it is not that bad being a an air-trafficgh controller is a lot more interesting and exciting. i enjoy that career. it did run through my mind. i have a lot of staff the day you are willing to give me advice unsolicited. [laughter] i took it and try to keep things going.
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we had people in the command center to voice their concern about whether the facility was safe or not. of course, it does seem like a logical conclusion that you would try to take out a communications center. the good thing about the command center is that i do not think anyone in the country knew where in the hell we were [laughter] we are in a private building, a regular business outside of washington. you would not know we were there at all. i reassure the individuals that were concerned about our anonity. >> dan, in washiton, d.c., you were in a unique position, being in our nation's capital. you turned away all of the aircraft. nobody else is supposed to be coming into washington. the order has gone out to land everybody. you were dealing with the military, who had launched 16
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fighters over washington. at the same time this was going on, yowere faced with an unusual circumstance because the continuity of government plan went into effect, which was the plan to evacuate our most senior governmt officials in the event of attack, so you did have aircraf coming in and going out. how did you do that? >> to be clear, i was one of about five or six individuals to all just through the rules out the window and decided, let's get a plan. some of the jets that had been
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airborne had come back because they were out of fuel. i said we were going to figure this out. i told them i had to be honest. i was not a defense controller. air-traffic controllers try to keep airplanes apart. i needed quick schooling on what he needed from me. he said we needed a common spot and recalling the bull's-eye. he said it would be at the airport. he said it would vary in range and distance from that spot. he was setting up the fighter cap. that was the combat air patrol. we were trying to determine eight system. there are all of these targets. i cannot get into it in this
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setting, but these doomsday and continuity of government plans with different elements of the military and faa practiced every day to move the decision makers of washington to save, undisclosed location. that all happened that day. it had been developed for years and modified as things went on. but i do not think anybody really thought that you were looking for an attack from the air. here were all of these helicopters and various other things coming into the area to pick people up and fly them to save locations. they were airborne and armed. we did not trust anybody. he had to trust me. i have to trust him. that was the extent of the trust. how we did not inadvertently shoot down one of our own aircraft is really a testament to the guys that came in on top in the air traffic controllers calling the positions out to the aircraft.
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they had to positively identify every aircraft that came in. the people that came into swoop peopleut of the pentagon, flying severely injured to hospitals. one of the major trauma centers was near the white house. we had to fly over that. we had to make our own rules. it was pretty incredible. the decision for us in the washington area to get everyone down on the ground was a quick one. my supervisor made the decision on his own. it was a great decision. that part of our job was done. the big part was setting up a fighter capnd identifying all of the other aircraft and things coming and going in the air space. it was really an incredible few hours. >> you mentioned a couple of years back in the circumstance stuck with me. during this time as you have all the fighters over the city, you
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are breaking all of the rules. you had created your own rules on how you operate this day. there was an aircraft coming into d. -- obviously a government aircraft. you have determined how you were going to thread it through all the fighters circling the city. your supervisor walked into the room. >> when the attorney general is coming in, that is a different story. we will get to that if we have time. we did not know who it was. andrews air force base was recovering military leaders to go in there and do what they had to do. the deputy manager had rushed in. he was out of the building at the time of the debt. he will remain nameless. he is a very by the book type of guy.
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walked ithere as i am telling the other controller that there was an air force jet at 19,000 feet that had to get down to 2,000 feet to land at airforce -- enders' air force base. i said to the guy working that there were no rules, justend it through me and i will miss you. [laughter] this guy just looked at me and walked out. [laughter] it was a really good call. he knew he could not get involved in that. his place was to be out of the room at a time. he was good at that. the manager and i had a conversation later about what a good move that was. [laughter] i was calling me stuff out -- calling the stuff out. he would tell the appropriate aircraft in the area that it was
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a friendly. it was really pretty crazy. talking, when we're about a military response and the fighters over d.c. i do not think many people realize that the faa did not have compatible lines of communication with the military and norad that day. when they attempted to communicate they could not. you did not realize on that morning that the information going to the northeast and defense secto, who was coordinating our response for the northeastern part of the nine states, you did not realize that you were the only one giving them information about what aircraft were targets, which were hijacked, where they we, where they were suspect. you did not realize at the time that was the role you were
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playing. how did you get in that spot where y were giving them the information? how did it happen that you the only one giving them the information? >> when i went down to the floor, in the unique position i was in, i also work with the military all the time. i have a lot of letters of agreement with the military. i write a lauder letters about procedure in airspace. -- i write a lot of letters about procedure in airspace. i have probably dealt with the more than other facilities. others deal with them but not in the amount that i did. when i went to the floor and sat down at that position, one advantage i had was that the military has their o telephone stem in defense switching network. i had the numbers numerous of the people i knew i needed to talk to. i had the number for the bottle
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cap, the aerospace manager, the i.t. section. i had those memorized. it was easy for me to dial in and call these people with what was going on. i had a lot of information coming in. theyad started initial security telecom. when a anything passed over, i would immediately call them. after 20 or 30 minutes, i did not want toall them all the time. my assumption was that everyone was calling them and they were swamped with phone calls. i waited until i had information. i would wait for a minute two and decide to call them. i would call and give them more information. they kept telling me to keep calling and giving them all the information. at certain times, i did not want to bother them with that much. a lot of the information i gave them was good information. some of it was misinformation passed on to me through a telcon as well.
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they did get a lot of good information from me. i had a good relationship with the northeast air defense command and a lot of the military units. i had personally met some of the pilots. i go to the range cancel meeting every year. i meet them there. i get to deal with the airspace officers. the pilot normally fills that job. it is probably a pilot it got in trouble and may make him the air space officer for a year. [laughter] they're not necessarily happy airspace officers, but that is their job. they do it for year. i have known a lot of them personally. i had a good feeling calling and talking to them to give them the information. i made numerous calls that day. in the 9/11 commission questions, a lot of the things i did, i did go outside of the protocol, but we also complied with the protocol. my steps that morning were more direct. the protocol was a circumvented
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process that goes through our region, through washington, to the military, to norad, baed down. i had a number for the last one and decided to call them myself. i requested to have them take some fighters out of atlantic city. they wer no longer a scramble base of the time. at 9:00 every morning, there were probably be a couple of aircraft out there. i asked them to try to divert them and come on over. i did a lot of that throughout at day. i was trying to get them to come back. since i made all of my numbers on the defense switching network, they are not recorded. they are reported on the other end. about three days after 9/11, they interviewed me in my
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office. they had me come down to the quality assurance office. they said they only had one call from me on the hot line. i told them i made 40 phone calls. the asked where they were. i told them i put them on the dsn phone. i told them that we did not record them but others didnd they could request the tapes. no one ever did. several years went by, i never got to him myself. the other controllers got to hear the statements and what they did. i had some problems dealing with it myself because i never got to hear what i said. i thought i did a good job that day. i made a bunch of phone calls. i could not remember the order and made them in. it would have been nice to hear my tapes and hear what i said, maybe get a better understanding of what i did on that day. two years went by. the 9/11 commission was meeting. they're starting to put the time line togetr. the time line was not matching
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up. the military and faa kept having some issues. they could not seem to match it up. somewhere, the department of justice decided to come out and interview people involved in 9/11. they came to interview me at boston center in 2003. they said they would interview me for about five minutes because i made one transmission. i told them i made like 40 transmissions. our five minute interview turned into about a 3 hour interview. a lot of things started setting up the time line a lot differently because of my conversations with the military that no one had any copies of. they are out there. they ended up going to the northeast. defence command. they pulled the tapes. they listened to the tapes for the first time. i was surprised they still have them. they pulled the tape and came back in january 2004. i finally got to hear my tapes.
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i do not know if you want to call it closure are not, but i needed to hear this. i remember going home that day and sitting out by my frozen pool in new england with the snow. i sat there and had a couple of beers. i finally got to sit back and relax. i finally got to see what i had done that day. >> colin scrambled jets on that day in defense of our country. there's only one person in washington who has the ability of the faa side to request the military scramble jets. that is the hijack coordinator. they are still looking for him. [laughter] colin took it upon himself to think outside the box and get the job done that y. [applause]
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>> one of the things i learned early on in doing my research is that the news had misrepresented the fact that they did not even know where the alert site w in the recalling atlantic city to get them to scramble. i knew from talking to colin that he knew very well who our alert facility was. he also knew that atlantic city had their training mission every morning and that they were out flying and might be closer. they might be able to get to new york city faster. those phone calls that were being made happened very early on in the morning. that is very noteworthy in this kind of overlooked. -- that is very noteworthy and is kind of overlooked. i do not want to steal the floor
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by being the only one asking questions. we would like to open up the oor to questions from the audience. i would like to give the students at the university the opportunity to ask questions first. that will be followed by any of the members of the audience. please ask one question at a time. if you have more than one question and there are other people waiting, please let them ask the question first before you ask your second question. if you have any questions, step up to one of the microphones at the front of the room. let's see what is on your mind. can you go to the microphone to ask your question? >> i remember on that day, my dad works in downtown dallas. i remember having no clue if it was four airplanes or 400
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airplanes and wind it would end. do you know if your actions in bringing all the airplanes to the ground might have prevented someone from hijackig of this or sixth airplane? is there any way to tell? >> i do not believe there is any evidence i have read of that indicated there were more aircraft. i did hear stories about some aircraft were they found box cutters in the overhead and things of that nature. i do not know of any official report of that nature. >> some of the stion managers of the traffic control facilities and air crews, there was an american airlines flight that did not get off the ground because of the new takeoff
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order. the fbi interviewed the crew. they had a group of young middle eastern men in first class that morning. they returned to the gate. the fbi talked to the crew about 15 times. that was briefly covered in the news and then no more was heard about that. that was at jfk, i believe. it was jfk, a los angeles flight that morning. it is hard to know. one thing happening that morning that was very interesting is that as the planes were being sent back to the gates, they were being offloaded of all the passengers and being pushed out of the airports being evacuated. the asked if they stopped the
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people from the american flight and arrested them at the gate. the airport was evacuating when the airplane that back to the gate. those people were being hustled from the airports and on to the streets as they were at airports across the country. they were quickly phed out of the airports. >> in your book you mention operation guardian program for that day. how much did that complicate things? they were expecting an exercise. they could have misunderstood. how did that complicate things or how long did it take to get it straightened out? >> that was very interesting. i think it was very fortuitous that vigilant guardian was going on that day. that meant that all of the senior commanders at norad were in the bottle cap -- battle cap
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when this occurred. these commanders came to the realization that we were under attack fairly quickly and canceled the exercise. the net effect was that there was not confusion other than 41st minute or two -- other than for the first minute or two. it was very fortuitous that they were all in their command positions because of the ercise. >> couple of times on a call that morning, the first thing out of their mouth was to ask if it was real world or an exercise. the northeast air defense command -- it was pretty much over with. after talking to the commander over there, he said that they were probably more prepared on that day because they had extra people due to the exercise. it is interesting listening to the tapes.
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there is no doubt that when the first calls started coming in about a hijacked airliner, they said the exercise was on and here we go. there is no doubt it took a while. on one of the tapes, you could tell they were responding as if it were real world, even at the beginning when they were not sure if it was real or not. at one point, they hear about the crash into the new york skyline. at one point, one of the weapons controller said to the guy next to him that if this is an uprcise, this is one f'd exercise. [laughter] >> you alluded to incoming flights from overseas. perhaps coming from europe. i am going to guess that some coming from europe were diverted to canada.
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once an airliner starts out over the pond with a point of no return, there had to be some complications. was there anything that turned out to be a problem? i know it was not simple. was the remedy to divert as many of those to canada as you could? did you turn some back? were there any glitches in that or someone got close to running out of fuel on the way across the land? >> those routes across the land in in the ocean are structured. they are required to have a certain amount of fuel in the event of emergency. they would have either gone back to europe or we have greenland, iceland, and the canadian provinces all the way down. i was not concerned about an aircraft getting to a place to land at all. i knew that ourrocedures in
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setting of the north atlantic tracks in this case provide for that contingency. >> the town of gander in newfoundland, there is an interesting story on that. they have 5000 people. 10,000 people landed that day on 9/11. [laughter] the town doubled in size. the people in gander to all of these people into their houses. it was not like they have enough schools for them. everyone was taking to recruit people into their own homes. they had to keep them there for three or four days. -- everyone was taking two or three people into their own homes. they had to keep them there for three or four days. they did not want to break the airplanes that. they divided them up by neighborhoods so that when they had to pick them back up, they knew where to find them all for their airplanes.
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the town of gander was amazing, what they did. some landed in halifax. the town of gander took a lot of people. >> nbc in conjunction with the olympics broadcast a documentary that celebrated the humanity shown by those residents of the area. there was a tremendous outpouring. i am sure all of us can see in our mind's eye the queues of the aircraft sitting on the runways and the townspeople bringing these people into their homes. it was a tremendous display on the part of the canadians. i got a chance to personally thank them for that. i know they announced if i had any doubts about how to handle the air traffic. they handled it magnificently. -- i know they asked if i had any doubts about how to handle the air traffic. they handled it magnificently. >> that brings me to one of the
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things you told me when we were working on the book. you said it was actually not so hard to take them all down, but it was hard to put it all back together again. in talking about the airplanes coming in from overseas, there was one continental pilot that i spoke to. i only talked toim that day. i cannot talk about the cool stuff that happened later. there was a continental flight. when the flights were authorized to start taking off again and take off for the unite states, the flights diverted with the first authorized to continue on to the united states. it was began their flight, this continental flight. -- it was this gander flight, this continental flight. they were given very specific takeoff times. you have to take off at that time or forget it.
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the schedulers at continental airlines called the captain and told him he had been cleared to lach out of gander and had to be off by 10:28 in the morning. the captain said that given i am 90 miles from the airport and my crew and passengers are scattered all over newfoundland [no audio] 38 other aircraft blocking in my aircraft on the runway. [laughter] the whole system was turned upside down. they had to work it back towards to get it all out. -- they have to work backwards to get it all out. >> it was tough to get it going again. as i told someone earlier today, the moment the last aircraft landed on 9/11, the command center was inundated with
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requests to fly. one i recall was the texas rangers -- not the baseball team. it was the highway patrol,he rangers. they needed to fly a helicopter to an accident site to get to a person who was badly inred. and looked at the specialist asking me to give permission for the helicopter to go get this person who was injured and wondered how i could possibly say no. but i was terrified that anything that got airborne like it shut down. i figured a low level helicopter in texas, go for it. [laughter] everyone was looking up in the northeast at that time.
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>> can you discuss the difficulty about communicating between the organizations? what changes have you made sense? since? >> what has to be set as have the faa coordine's with norad now is completely different. the faa has changed top to bottom out all of that is done with decision kers in the loop. every facility in the nation is on at 24/7 conference call. everyone knows what is goinon. there's all sorts of other stuff we cannot get into that is very impressive. one of the frustrating things that my facility -- at my facility was that i could not talk to norad directly.
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our phone lines were jammed with people calling wanting to make sure that their parents or kids were ok. one point, it is shocking about the speaker phone was the best way to talk to them. it took them a few lines. today's to wire this and position. all of that has changed now. i do not foresee a communication problem or lack of information for decision makers in the loop problem ever again. the faa and the dot have done a good job of changing that. >> didave been -- the domestic network he is talking about is a telecommunications network of people with the military, customs, the dea, homeland defense. everyone is now co-located in
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the room in washington, d.c., where this has been going on 24/7 cents 9/11. we have improved dramatically our ability to communicate. the protocols of the past called for the aviation community was one of cooperation to try to prolong the situation, get them to land, exchange passengers, listen to the demds. we knew from experience that the long grip on hijacking went on, the more likely it would be that it would and benignly -- end benignly. now, all the protocols of changed for dealing with hijackings. >> iant to acknowledge each of you for the heroism that you
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exhibited. [applause] your ability to find the focus to concentrate and execute your jobs with the level of perfection that nobody ever would have called on you to perform and your ability to show the ingenuity to step outside the box and your ultimate commitment to the safety of lives and america is just remarkable. we owe each of you an extreme debt of gratitude. thank you very much. [applause] >> the must have been a moment for each of you at some point where you felt like you could say that the crisis is over, the immediate problem has been addressed and we may have a
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second to take a breath. i wonder what that moment was like for each of you. what was your next thought? >> to be honest with you, i was not comfortable until the next day. the pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m.. the next thing i knew, it was 9:00 at night. the washington area was under control. the fighter cap and resources above the capital were under control. there was a handful of aircraft we did not know the status of. the ones coming in overseas was a whole different apartment. i got home. i was comfortable that night. i would sleep well bause we were safe. for me, it was not until the next day when everything was over. -- i knew i would sleep well
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because we were safe. for me, it s not until the next day when everything was over. >> for me, it has never ended. i do not look and aircraft the same way. i have been seeing aircraft my whole life. i am seldom if ever turning my head to watch an airplane go by. that has changed. i watch them on them. i think it changed america's perception of aviation and what goes on in the skies. on that day when we directed them all to land, that was some kind of closure but it really was not. a recall of japan airlines flight up in alaska thanearly got shut down -- shot down because of a radio problem. we were not sure it was over
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when the last aircraft landed. to this day, it has changed my perception of aviation and how i think about what is going on. i do feel is up to everyone of us to prevent this type of terrorism from happening again. i think we hav seen that demonstrated by stories in the press of passengers on airplanes overwhelming a potential hijackers or someone who wanted to disrupt the flight and taking matters into their own hands. there are airport procedures to prevent people from getting on the airplanes with anything more dangerous -- you cannot bring a bottle of water on board. they have changed considerably from the protocols before 9/11. it is up to all of us to keep our eyes and ears open. as they say in new york, "if you see something, say something." >> i started feeling more
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comfortable when all of the airplanes were down over boston. some of the east centers got their aircraft down sooner than the west coast. i started feeling better than. then we had a lot of military coming off the ground. i felt better. i was still listening in on the telecons to other parts of the country landing airplanes. there was a conversation going on. the base commander said that if you land here, you will get shot down. the guy had to go somewhere else. that was the way it was. the day went on for a long time. i got home aut 8:00. that was the first time i saw anytng on tv. and i went back in at midnight and work another 12 for 14 hours the next day. the next day i felt a lot better. we watched the fighters got an
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intercept. there was a lot more to be done. there was a lot of coordination on helicopters and relief try to get to the tower. at tt time, people were still hoping they would pull hundreds of people out of the towers. over the next few days, we realized they were not going to find hardly any survivors at all. the whole system has changed. it is not the same as it used to be. it never will be. we have a lot more protocols and things in place to take care of what would happen today. >> i want to express my appreciation personally to all of you for doing your duty and doing it well. mr. sliney, especially, for your timely and completely independent order to shut down in u.s. airspace. did you have any resistance to that -- other than from the
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texas rangers? did you get any flak for that later since it was apparently an independent decision? >> the answer is no, i got no flak for that. i am reminded o the individual from the communications headquarters. he called me over and said i would love this. he said they want us to land everyone. looked at him. he said i told them we have already done that. he asked who didhat. he demanded pete -- he said they demanded to know who gave me a 40 to do that. he said they called back 20 minutes lat and demanded to know why i had not done it sooner. [laughter] being an old hand at government service, i was not even surprised that the turn of events -- at the turn of events. [laughter]
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>> i want to know how it changed the training for aviation altogether in case of anotr emergency. like how prepared is the aviation team now compared t the attacks before september 11? is there more training with the psychological state of each personnel? did that not even occur? you are able to separate yourself for the time to take care of the situation at hand before you dealt with the psychological issues? >> i think i got your question, but please clarify. the training for air traffic controllers and management has changed completely in terms of how we deal with potential
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hijackings. it used to be an annual refresher that we would blow off. it is now a serious thing that we look at. how it is handled is completely different. >> h each individual psychological can break or completely take over -- the fight or flight syndrome. is there any more training with the psychological? >> not really. air traffic controllers are kind of a unique personality. [laughter] i have been a controller for 20 years. we are all the same. we really are. not really. there are a lot of type a personalities. as far as dealing with the emotional aspect -- >> we try to get the crazy ones. [laughter]
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>> there are some differences. you have some controllers that ar very anal, but still very aggressive. they're mostly aggressive type people. i worked in an office -- i work in an office. i have probably 12 stacks of pape around me. i can barely see my computer monitor. the controller next to me is completely spotless and gets upset if a piece of paper falls on his desk. different types of people. the reality is we all like to be in control. that is probably the biggest thing. i think everyone is more aware now than they used to be. they're more responsive if something were to go wrong. any emergency now is treated much differently than it used to be. it ds not matter what the emergency is. it goes over the domestic defense network. everyone in the country knows you have a problem at boston center, even out in l.a.,
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because everyone is listening in. there is no additional training that i am aware of. the personalities have not changed. there the same that they have always been. >> when you look nationwidat the feat accomplished when nearly five dozen aircraft landed without incident. the controllers were in new york, boston, washington when this was occurring. the pilots in command of these 4500 aircraft. i think the performance on that day demonstrates that their training was sufficient. i think the emotional load and the psychological consequences for some of the pilots and controllers, there were some that never returned to work after 9/11. there is no doubt that itook its toll on the psyche. i think we are done for now.
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questions? join me in thanking this group of panelists. [alause] >> we are going to take about a 15-minute break. we will return to hear from the pilots that were in the air that day. wait, i forgot to tell you. for those of you interested in reading more, the u t dallas bookstore will be selling the books right outside here. the will be a book signing afterwards. it is kind of like a pop-up book. you have all of the characters
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here. [laughter] >> welcome back. please take your seats filled -- so that we can stand time. check yourself phones to make sure they are off. we use the brakes to talk on them, it seems. -- we seem to use these breaks to talk on them. we are now going to welcome the pilots. [applause] >> i know that you really want to talk to them and not hear from me. i will not be too wordy in might
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lead into the panel. i do want to cover two areas that i think need to be backdropped as we hear from the pilots. the first has to do with the professional pilots and how we're trained, what we expect, and what we do not expect. pilots have to have check rides every six months to a year to show that we can fly to the same abilities we could when we were first certificated. there are not many professions out there with that, but the proficiency is very high because of that. when pilots take these rides -- none of this has to do with flying the plane, but with everything
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that goes along with flying not playing. it has to do its -- flying that plane. it has to do with how you deal with enemies and how you deal with emergencies. we trained to such an extent that emergencies are another set of procedures to follow. there is so little that is unpredictable for a pilot because all of our training centers on being prepared for everything conceivable. that is important to keep in mind. one of the things that -- we did not spend a whole lot of time training prior to 9/11 on hijacking. it was part of the training, but in the 500-page manuals that address our training, may be only a couple of pages had to do with hijacking and they were not suicide hijackings, but the more
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traditional kind that the controllers were referencing earlier. keep that in mind as you hear from these pilots. none of that training prepared them to be in a situation where they found themselves on 9/11 where their aircraft were at risk for being hijacked and used as misfiles -- missiles against our own nation. the second backdrop i would like to paint is that of our military air defense on september 11, 2001. it was a different air defense than had been present 30 years earlier. at the height of the cold war, we had 175 jets armed and prepared to launch at a moment's notice. on september 11, we had 10 armed
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fighters for all of the continental united states, and only four of those were in the northeast portion of the united states. by northeast, i am not talking about new england, i am talking about east of the mississippi and above the mason-dixon line. there were four fighters on alert and prepared to defend. although there might be military facilities throughout our country, maybe in a town near you, they may have fighter squadrons. those fighter squadrons, unless they are one of those alert facilities -- they trained to deployed overseas. they were not part of the air defense mission and were not charged with the air defense of the united states. i just want to set those two things as the backdrop as we hear from these people.
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i would like it introduced colonel dan caine, who was an f- 16 fighter pilot and the supervisor of flying at the 121st fighter squadron at andrews air force base on 9/11. capt. gerald earwood, an airline pilot flying midwest express flight 7 into new york city on 9/11. colonel joe mcgrady, an f-15 fighter pilot, one of the air defense pilots that i referred to two, one of the alert pilots -- referred to, one of the alert pilots on cape cod. and captain chuck savall, another airline captain of the midwest express flight that was airborne on 9/11 and did not
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arrive at its intended destination. without further delay, i would like to give you all of the opportunity to make opening comments. >> thanks, lynn. first, let me say it is a tremendous honor to be here with the colleagues in the first panel. let me thank you for your leadership in your service on a bad, bad day. you made my life and joe's life a lot easier with being proactive and not reactive. thank you. it is an honor to be here with the school. thank you to the staff for putting this together. i do not think anyone else could have done a better job of putting this timeline together. it is worth reading. to my teammates to my left, it is an honor. joe and i have known each other for a long time. long before 9/11. i am the godfather of his oldest
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kid. if i would have known where he was, i would have been a lot more relaxed. lynn asked us to give an overview of what our roles were on 9/11. i'm a lieutenant-colonel in the d.c. air national guard and an at-16 fighter pilot there. on 9/11, my job was to be the lucky guy who got to go the fighter weapons school. the air force fighter weapons school is a lot longer, a lot harder, and we do not have volleyball like "top gun." [laughter] what that means is i am the squadron's chief tactician in chief instructor. i fly with the new guys, the old guys. i am the chief tactical adviser to the command structure.
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on september 11, i was not scheduled to fly initially. i was the supervisor of flying that morning, means i was to check the weather and make sure the guys launched ok and that we operated a safe and effective flying program. we were not an alert program. we were not one of the four programs that had airplanes sitting on alert. we had just reform from an air force base in nevada as we prepared to deploy it operation southern watch, the southern no- fly zone that we protect. we are now an air defense unit. you can rest assured that, as we sit here, my teammates are sitting just minutes away from airplanes who were there 24/7, 365. our unit, in particular, has been nonstop on alert since 911 -- 9/11. in the snow, the rain, on christmas -- trying to keep
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everybody safe and prevent that again. i was not scheduled to fly that morning. ultimately, any of you that read lynn's book will find out that the air defense structure did not reach down into the washington, d.c., traffic area. we got scrambled in a very nontraditional way. we had a very close relationship with the secret service, due to the location of where we fly at andrews. our scramble order came from the highest levels of government to get everything we could airborne. i shifted gears and stop being the supervisor flying and grab the nearest women that i could. we briefed and we went out and flew -- nearest wingman that i could. we briefed and then we went out and flew.
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in a couple of weeks, i deployed. that was a good thing. i went to afghanistan. i thank you for the opportunity. i look forward to hearing what these great americans to my left have to say. thank you. >> name is gerald earwood. on the morning of september 11, 2001, i was flying milwaukee to new york laguardia. hijacked united 175 came through my back door. i was ordered to take evasive action for the aircraft. i witnessed the disaster straight-on. folks, you had to be there. i looked at it for my cockpit window. i saw both towers on fire. i never saw flight 175, but i
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did see the aftermath. america needs to remember what we saw that morning. these gentlemen here, the controllers did what they could. it was mass confusion. we landed probably 20 minutes after the second tower was hit. two days later, i was captain of the first aircraft to leave new york. that is my story. i share nothing with these to do fine military pilots who were protecting us these days -- those days. there is no way to explain how grateful we were to see them flying over the top of us. that is all i have right now. >> good afternoon. i am lieutenant colonel joe
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mcgrady, currently part of the 102nd wing. we were and f-15 squadron team -- an f-15 squadron team before some reassignments. thank you to everyone at the university of texas, dallas. your hospitality has been amazing. thank you to the other panelists for everything you did that morning. my role was in the cockpit of an f-15. i was scheduled to fly a training mission that morning. it was a beautiful, beautiful day. we were taxiing out. he firstre taxiing, te twa aircraft that went down to new york -- two aircraft that
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went down to new york on it immediate alert status were scrambled. as soon as they started up, we got word on the radio that there was a possible hijack of an american airlines 737. that was the first time we knew something was going on. we never dreamed it would be what unfolded. i was number one for take off with my wingman. we were going to do a training mission south of cape cod. our alert jets -- the first two that are down to new york -- that went down to new york took off, then we took off.
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there's a lot of chatter about what was going on -- about an american jet flying into the world trade center. as an american airlines pilot and a 30 -- and a 737 pilot, it was kind of odd for me. immediately after we got into the area, we were called back to base. we landed as soon as we could and reported to setup our cockpits for alert. we looked all the switches so that we would be ready to ready to-- flipped all the switches so that we would be ready to take off anytime. i ran into the squadron, there were six of us there for training that morning. we all landed and ran inside to breakroom.v in our we saw the towers.
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we knew we had two jets down in new york. at that piont, our squadron -- that point, our squadron commander brought us together and told us that two aircraft were hijacked and that is what was believed to have happened at the world trade center, and that there were more. we were getting word that there could be more. we're told that, if need be, we would have to engage and take art and airliner. that was -- and take out an air liner, which was a horrific thought. after that, a scramble order was issued. the technicians said we needed to get everything airborne as soon as we can. we ran out the door. i ran to our jets.
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i started up. we knew there were threats out there that we need to engage. i was one of the first two to taxi. we realized we did not have any weapons. it is filled up our jets with gas. -- they just filled up our jets with gas. we're told we had to go. even though we were a winchester, which means we had no weapons, we took off. we got airborne and we proceeded for about 106 miles, not really sure what it was. we were thinking we would have to engage the aircraft without any weapons. it did not happen to be a threat. it ended up being four a-10's
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that colin talked about earlier. we were ordered over downtown boston and we spent the next six hours setting up the north cap over boston. that is a good chunk of my day. i would be more than happy to expand on it and answer any questions about that day. >> my name is chuck savall. i would like to thank these two fighter pilots for what they did that day and what they would have been willing to do if they had had to. if you did not get that, joe was going to take off without weapons and half to take down an airplane. the odds of him dying while doing that were extremely high.
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my personal role -- i was the captain of the midwest express flight from the walkie to new work, -- from milwaukee to newark. we were only 10 miles apart. we were right behind them. we descended into newark on a normal and beautiful morning. we got into a holding pattern, which you normally get in bad weather. sometimes if there is a lot of traffic, you get those on a nice day. we asked the controller why we were getting the holding pattern in he would not tell us, which is very unusual -- and he would not tell us, which is very unusual. that was my first clue something was very wrong. we were setting up a holding pattern. while we were holding, we heard another airline pilot on the radio say, we just heard something about a plane hitting the road trade center appeared we were 25 miles away. i looked -- hitting the world
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trade center. we were 25 miles away. i looked out the window. the second tower had just been hit. we saw the flames and smoke. we did not know it was an airplane. we thought it was an explosion. from what we heard, it was an airplane that the world trade center. we did not know the extent of what was going on. we asked the controller again, why are we in a holding pattern? he said, something big is going on in new york and i cannot tell you about it. it was getting a little unusual. at that point, pilots -- we had to figure out our plan b -- how much fuel we have and where we could go. our initial thought was going to look guardia -- la guardia. our dispatchers were watching this on cnn. they told us to get as far from the east coast as we possibly could. so that is what we did.
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we headed for cleveland. [laughter] not sure why that is funny come we headed for cleveland. that is all the fuel we had so that is where we could land safely. we were discussing what to do as far as security. we were still unsure as to what was going on. my first officer tuned up the local a.m. radio station and that was the best communication information we had that morning. we heard about the pentagon. we have a lot of incorrect information -- heard a lot of incorrect information. we knew how bad things were. i made an announcement to the passengers to let them know that we would try to get
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them on the ground safe. on the way to cleveland, we were heading right for flight 93. our courses were pretty much head-on. they made us emergency descent and landing in pittsburgh. by the time we got there, the airport had been evacuated. we had someone in the tower who had not left his post. i still do not know who he was pretty said, you can land if you want to, but you are on your own -- i still do not -- i still do not know who he was. he said, you can land if you want to, but you are on your own. after that, it was pretty uneventful. [laughter] >> thank you. there is criticism after the attack that the military was slow to respond. why did they not shoot down american 11 and united 175?
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how do you respond to that? >> carefully. [laughter] i think the reality is, in the pre-9/11 environment we were mostly focused on threats out word -- outward. we did not candidly anticipate this kind of attack could be mounted against america. we did not look inward. the airplanes that were set up at the time work drive toward the water and stop any threat access from their -- were set up at the time were to drive toward the water and stop any threat
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access from there. there have been improvements since then, which is a good thing. as i said, we have airlines -- air planes sitting on the work now in washington, d.c., and we did not have that on 9/11. i do not think there'll be another situation like that. >> additionally, if you remember, ben earlier said from the first to the last one, it was approximately 70 minutes. we had to kook armed aircraft that launched -- two armed aircraft that launched out of the northeast. the timing and the time frame logistically of that happening -- timeframe logistically of that happening were kind of an issue. >> it was those fighters who had
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responded to the lufthansa hijacking. they had gone out and followed it and sat overhead jfk when it landed. some of the same alert pilots that had scrambled to new york had worked at hijack. -- worked that hijack. would there have been any reason for them to have suddenly shot down that aircraft? they could get shot down not lufthansa -- that lufthansa, too. >> the events of 9/11 were unbelievable. i do not think it was ever thought of where the military
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air defense fighter would engage and shoot down a civilian airliner filled with people. the rules changed that day. >> but you had been trained to deal with hijackings. >> you have to think in context. as we were watching the first hour burn and the airplane -- the second one came into view -- there was complete silence. there was absolutely no doubt in anybody's mind in that fire squadron -- fighter squadron that we were under attack. all of your planning assumptions get jettisons at that point and you start handling the nearest threat. i mean, it would not have been easy to shoot an airliner, but let me rest -- put to bed any
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concerns that we were all willing to do that. whether or not you would follow an airplane -- we had some very good conversations with airplanes that day, with one airplane about four-feet off of their wing, tried to determine whether or not this guy was guyor not. -- whether or not this guy was friendly or not. we were trying to prevent confusion. >> it sounds like you all were not -- this is not very different from some of the common sense lines. he did not make the connection of the hijack and what he saw in the tower at first. it sounds like you all did not make the immediate connection that these were suicide hijackings until sometime between after 11:00 -- after
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11 and 175 struck. >> the first airplane going into the tower hit before our first two armed jets got to the new york area. i do not know it was pieced together during that time. there was a lot of confusion. it was not long after when it was figured out that it was an attack. in my case, instantly taking off right after the alert jets, then getting recalled right away, landing, running inside. in that short amount of time, i was told that i might have to go -- the game changed instantly, right there. something that we would never think of doing before, we were suddenly being told that we
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needed to be prepared to do this. that was in a very short i timeframe and -- in a very short timeframe and then we were running out the door. the initial responders -- i remember when they got scrambled on the hijack. we thought that was neat and exciting. they got to do something for real. you do not often get a tasking when you were on alert for real- world tasking. you can sit alert for two years and might not get scrambled on a real-world tasking. >> before 9/11. >> correct. [laughter] when those initial responders took the wrong way to go, i was thinking, -- took the runway to go, i was thinking, all right, go do it.
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not shoot down an airliner, because that was the farthest thing from my mind. it was just exciting to be scrambled. an hour later, then being told we might need to engage an airliner. what we said, that's had to do. in our squadron, that was the thing we had to do, protect our nation. we kind of knew what was going on. when we get ordered to do something, we authenticate, then we do it. if we had, god forbid, taken out an airliner, then that is what it was going to be. >> they thought you were heading toward a target when you headed out. if you had had to take out that
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target, as you were thinking while flying out there, what was your plan? >> it was -- that was -- that short window in my life was incredibly difficult. basically, i thought about, if i had to do that, taking out the tail or maybe the cockpit and then trying to be able to hit the airplane in a way that i could eject and save myself. it was just a terrible, terrible feeling trying to figure it out and wondering whether i would survive or should just take it out completely, go for the engine or the wing. you know, it was not -- and thankfully, that did not happen.
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but that -- like i said, in that short amount of time, that is what we thought might have to happen. we were -- if we were ordered to do that, that is what we would have to do. >> gerald, your circumstances are very different, in that you almost had a midair with 175. you did not have the awareness that some of these other panelists had about what was happening. you just knew that you had a very excited comptroller trying to prevent a mid-air -- controller trying to prevent a midair. you spoke in your opening comments that you were the first to take off from new york when
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it was allowed. i know some pilots who never went back to flying and they did not have midairs. what was that like? >> to be honest, leaving new york -- i was more afraid leaving new york than the actual event of the near midair. i was very concerned about terrorist around the perimeter of the airport. we had 35 script -- 35 stranded and crewmembers -- 35 stranded crew members in new york. new york was a ghost town. there were armed guards with m- 16 and machine guns. they opened up the airport especially for us. we had to go through extensive security -- you think it is bad now. [laughter] they wanted to -- well -- we
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went through two extensive screenings. [laughter] >> it's ok. [laughter] >> like i said, that was the worst part. i was escorted down to the aircraft. as captain, i was the only one allowed to the aircraft, escorted by local and federal law enforcement. i had to perform an inspection around the aircraft, a bomb inspection with the local law enforcement and the fbi observing everything i did. i would open up a panel, read the checklist, look into the hole, step back, and that three more people do the exact same thing -- let three more people do the exact same thing. it probably took about 30 minutes to do something that usually takes five or 10 minutes.
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we loaded everyone up. ground crew looked up to the aircraft. we started to push back. the ground controller called and said, we hate to tell you this, but there has been a bomb threat against your aircraft. you need to evacuate. so, i picked up the p.a. and turned to the 35 crew members who wanted to get home and said, you aren't going to believe this, but we have a bomb threat and we have to evacuate. everyone, evacuated the aircraft and walked out onto the -- everyone calmly evacuated aircraft and walked out on to the runway. at that moment, one of our military aircraft flew over, and i got our attention. [laughter] -- that got our attention.
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when we got back on the aircraft and we were taxiing out, our friends from the military made another pass just as we were taxiing out. i told my first officer, i hope the military knows we are coming. [laughter] he said, me, too. they made a low pass. i remember the missiles struck on the bottom of the wings as you guys came over the top of us. i called and asked to the tower, confirm with us that the military knows that we're about to be airborne here. he said, hang on a minute. [laughter] he came back and said, yeah, they know you are coming. he said, make some noise getting out of here. what he did not know -- i had discussed this with my bosses
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and my first officer that, on a jet engine, on a dc-9, you go to a certain set temperature when you are preparing to take off. we all always did what was called a reduced-power takeoff. i said, not today. if they say anything, we are firewalling our engines. i advised air crew that it would be a roller coaster ride. we pitched off straight ahead. usually, of of that particular run way -- off of that particular runway, they turn you northwest. that day, they send us right over the world trade center.
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i had never been there. it was moving. -- it was very moving. the air traffic controllers were grateful that we were out. they had been talking to nothing but military for 48 hours. we chatted all the way to milwaukee. as far as giving up flying, it was never crossed my mind. it has been what i've done since i was 17 years old and was not going to let these people scare me out of my life. [applause] >> chuck. do you -- you talked a little bit about the fact that you really did not know what the threat was to your aircraft.
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i have often said that an airline pilot has a protective since -- sense over his or he r aircraft and passengers, not unlike a parent to their children. on that day, you had a lot of information, even though it did not feel like much. you knew there was a threat, probably the terrorist threat. what actions did you take knowing that? what was going through your mind? >> we are taught from our original hijacking training that, the quicker you get on the ground, the better. the safest places on the ground. that was what our mission became. we also had the new york controllers telling us to get out of here. we wanted the land as quickly as we could, but they would not let
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us. it was a conflict of interest, how quickly can we get out of the ground and get out of the way. we knew that the faster we got out of the sky, the quicker we would be saved. there was then the concern about landing at a major airport that we would be overtaken by terrorists. my first officer and i actually discussed lending at cleveland's -- landing at cleveland's general aviation airport, which is not a commercial airport. we thought we would get on the ground, park the airplane, and hoped there would be no terrorists. we did not have the choice. when we were told to land at pittsburgh, it was not a choice, but in order. -- an order. we talked earlier about
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this being part of the air defense missions at andrews and the 121st was not and about the fact that, on that day, we had only 10 aircraft that were armed and on alert for the entire continental united states, i think it was 14 for the entire united states. yet, within a matter of hours, very quickly that morning, we had combat air patrol over every major american city, including over washington, d.c., one of the first up, even though you were not part of the air defense mission. can you speak about how that happened? >> how we put it together? >> we only had 10 air defense
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aircraft, but then how did we have all of these other aircraft up over every major city? >> team america. [laughter] the nation needed america to respond. to every fighter squadron in the country, there were clear and unambiguous needs. we would sort out the control structure later on, thanks to folks like dan creedon over there from tracon. it was clear what needed to be done. sorting out the command-and- control structure became a challenge in some places like washington. the ground control intercept folks -- a fighter radar can only see a certain distance, 60 to 80 miles. as the cap commander, i wanted to see much further than that. poor dan creedon gets paired up
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with dan caine who is asking for very specific information as fast as he can get. to his credit, he acted quickly. it they did in amazing and extraordinary things on nine -- the ground controllers did amazing and extraordinary things on 9/11. the responded with honor and professionalism beyond anything i can communicate -- they responded with honor and professionalism beyond anything i can communicate to you. they gave us situational awareness. on a day like 9/11, whether you are a fighter pilot or an air traffic controller -- the thing you want is situational awareness. you want to make the best decisions you can with the information you have. thanks to the response of these
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folks, we were able to get as much situational awareness as we could. it is not like that anymore. the country is set up much better in architecture and in training. i can take off out of andrews. i can get scrambled from my shelter and talk to new york now. we are much better prepared. it is a long distance from 500 feet over d.c. >> i wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, but i want to answer in a different way. you are asking about the amount of caps that got up so
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quickly. it is definitely a tribute to everyone on the ground -- everything that makes a fighter what it is. it was the most amazing thing. when i landed six hours later, we were at war. -- in a a cubunch of guard unit, it is a handful of folks. on the weekend, it quadruples in size of manpower. the folks on the ground, all of the fighter squadrons, it is a true testament to their abilities, their work, their dedication. we had, i think it was 14 or 16
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jets fully loaded in a wartime configuration within hours of the first attack, by the end of that afternoon or early evening. i stayed on. we would start them up, make sure they worked, then sign them off. we went into 24/7 combat air patrols -- c.a.p.'s. we had four fighters airborne 24 hours a day. >> for 40 days. >> even after that. it was a continuous operation that most of the national guard units took on. it is just a tribute to all the personnel in our wing from
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the youngest airmen, to the most senior, to the whole team. >> when you mobilize the guard in our country, thanks to the constitution, you are really mobilizing america. the citizen soldiers answered the call on that day and are still doing so today. it is 12:45 in afghanistan and men and women from the active component of the guard are getting on their body armor to go out in the darkness to prevent another 9/11. it is a proud honor for us to be part of the air national guard and the national guard, which is really all of us -- citizen soldiers that answered the call to serve.
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>> in doing research and talking to some of the wing commanders, when colin had called over to lead the city and asked them if they could get some fighters airborne -- to atlantic city and ask them if they could get some fighters airborne -- when he started to form his jets, one of -- arm his jets, one of his staff saigave him pushback. he said, just do it. he turned, they loaded the weapons. i said, on whose wuthority -- authority were they going to launch these weapons when they weren't part of the air defense mission? he explained that as an error in
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march -- air national guard unit you work for the state. the governor of the state and trust me with this duty to protect. under that of 40, i will lean forward and get my asset -- that authority, i will lean forward and get my assets up in the air. i will protect. a force multiplier effect of having that ability. it was fascinating. >> folks, the other thing to remember is you could not keep people from trying to get to the guard base. airline pilots who were stuck out were doing anything they could get back to base. maintenance folks -- anyone, everyone was just coming through. whether they were needed or not, they were on their way into the base to help out. it was just a tremendous feat.
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we're getting some attention right now, but it was really not just us. it was everything behind us supporting us. >> i have a question for you, dan. you mention the air traffic controllers are in the business of keeping aircraft apart. you needed them to do something different. you were doing some teaching on the spot that morning. in some of the earlier comments, joe mentioned he had a very specific way to respond to any authorization to engage. how were you working with not only air traffic control to get what you needed, but with some of the air defense fighters that had totally different rules of engagement? how did that work?
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>> thankfully, the weapons school teaches you to be a herder. it was organized chaos. when we launched, i still remember the generator coming on line and the radars -- coming online and the radios going crazy. all i heard was that anybody within 25 nautical miles of washington, d.c., will be show down. my first thought was, -- will be shot down. my first thought was, i am not going down there. [laughter] i took over the c.a.p. given the very clear and unambiguous rules of engagement that our particular unit had, we realized we needed help from the
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guys who could see longer distances than i could with my fighter radar. i eventually landed on washington tracon's frequency. initially, our problem was one of sorting. we had many contacts who were in and around the range from the national command authority that met certain triggers. we needed to sort through those. each one initially required me to fly my airplane into an intercept on them. my first intercept was about 25 or 30 seconds after takeoff. i said, that is going to be a bad day, the one right over d.c. we have some tactics. there is a common reference point which is a great tactic
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and allows us to move everyone's situational awareness to the same thing. we chose reagan national, something i knew was in the system. i said, let's use reagan and we'll call it bulls'-eye. we will go with distance and direction off of that. we came with ways to sort traffic. if they were responsive to what we were saying on the radio, we knew they were friendly folks. dan would move them out and not be my problem. if they were not talking to him or they were below a certain altitude, we either called them unknown or suspect.
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we would commit and asset -- an asset to visually i.d. and determine whether it was a helicopter, medevac, airliner -- somebody who just did not get the word. they just did a great job helping us out with that. our best friend that day was actually the self-protection flare. we normally carry these flares that detect heat seeking missiles. they are great attention getters. especially if you are a helicopter with an f-16 above you. they are very convincing. we relied upon proven tactics. we set those in place. the concept of being proactive, not reactive. eliminating the variables that
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we had to deal with. minimizing the tactical problem that we faced. when in doubt, make a decision. the worst thing we could have done was not make a decision. as commander, i was determined to make proactive, not reactive, decisions to shape the environment and set the conditions for success, whether that was commit airplanes earlier, chunk flares out, get on the guard frequency and start asking for a tanker -- which showed up miraculously. that is another great story about american patriotism on patriot day. >> thank you. you mentioned the shoot-down authority and authorization.
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norad did not issue a blanket shoot-down authority. commanders there may very well- thought out -- made the very decisionught out that they would look at things individually. your orders were different in d.c. can you tell us more about the orders you had? far, weut going too had very liberal orders. i had the decision -- the ability to make airborne decisions unilaterally. those came directly to us from pretty high in government. we knew that we had very strict
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criteria, but when that criteria was met, the onus was on us to make the right decision. in a quick side bar, our wing commander, who tragically passed away in the metro accident in washington, d.c., last summer. i handed him the phone to talk to the high levels of government to get the rules of engagement. as we running out to the airplanes, he walked through the rules of engagement in handed me the piece of paper to read. you want to hear something great from your boss. he said, dan, i trust you. you are going to make the right decision. that stands out as a great example of leadership under stress. here is a guy sending a punk kid out there and he said, i'll
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back you to the hilt. >> when you mentioned to the general, one of the very touching things when i interviewed him, he was talking about this phone call that he received from the presidential emergency operations center, from a secret service agent that was telling him to basically shoot down any aircraft that got within a certain distance of washington, d.c. given the military chain of command, those orders have to come directly from the president. he said he did not feel really great about taking a shootdown order of a civilian airliner from a secret service agent. he said, may i speak with the vice president? he said, no, the vice-president
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is on the phone with the president. he said, is there anybody else there that i can speak to? [laughter] they said, no. this is what you are being ordered to do. he said he felt like he was the doctor are riding on the scene of an accident. he knew his -- arriving on the scene of an accident. he knew his resources. how could he say no? he knew he was putting his career on the line by taking such an order out side of the military chain of command. i give him much credit. there were a lot of individuals who put their lives or careers on the line in making similar decisions like that to respond in the unusual circumstance. i just wanted to add that. it was very powerful to me to
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hear that. he said he was relieved later on when the officials fax came through. that was 1:00 or 2:00. >> me, too. >> i wanted to be able to open this panel to questions from the audience. you're going to follow the same format. i would ask you to come to the microphones. we will give students the opportunity to ask questions first. let's move into those questions. while we are waiting for anybody with questions to get to the microphone, i do want to ask you all, are we better prepared today? >> yes. >> let's go down the panel and get your thoughts. thank you, dan. >> yes, absolutely.
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it was a way of call, not only for the country, but for the world -- wake-up call, not only for the country, but for the world. >> the planes are armed. the communications infrastructure has improved. at the interagency ability to communicate between intelligence, law-enforcement, military components -- it is much tighter. we have a network which is a 24- hour, 365-day conference call that is always going. somebody cannot be off-setting by three degrees and they are not talking about it. the sleeping giant has been awakened, if you will, at least in that part of our transportation sector.
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i think we are much better prepared. >> i agree. >> i just had a quick question. why is it we do have a transponder that can be turned off in the cabin? why does that capability not just when the plane is turned on, it is turned on, when the plane is turned off, it is turned off? >> any of them being turned on and off could affect the safety of aircraft. just like any >> when we are taxiing, you don't want your transponder on because the transponder is connected with a system that basically gives you advisories'
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of your proximity to the other aircraft. you don't want to be taxing 30 or 40 feet from all these other aircraft. it would be very loud in the cockpit. [laughter] generally you don't even turn on your transponder. it cannot be safely on on the ground. you don't turn it on until just before you take off. obviously it was used against us on september 11, the fact that they could turn their transponder's off and make themselves partly in visible except for primary radar. >> i really had this question for the first panel, but in discussing the diversion of the aircraft within a 60 mile radius of washington, or it that included new york, in retrospect, do you think it wo
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